My Moment - Day 47 - "Why Does Rice Play Texas?"

If you have not gotten a chance to read my blog about my #oneword for 2016, check out Enjoy the Moment.

As I mentioned in my blog, my #oneword is a call to action for me to be mindful of the moments that make up my day. The moments at home, the moments at work and the moments that happen in between.

In our principal meeting today, our superintendent share this quote from JFK.

"Why does Rice play Texas?" 

This quote comes from a speech JFK was giving at Rice University in 1962 just prior to the Space Race really heating up. 

Do you know the answer? 

JFK goes on to share, "We choose to go to moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the others things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win..."

Rice plays Texas because it is hard. It makes them better. When we put ourselves in positions that are uncomfortable or outside of our standard level of competition we can improve. 

I have heard this quote before...he has actually shared it before, but for some reason it stuck with me today. It could be because I am a huge sports fan and I love the parallels between great sports quotes and leadership or it could be because it is March and school is hard for many of us right now. Chances are it resonated today for both of those reasons. 

As I was reflecting on this and walking around the building this afternoon as teams were planning together, I walked into a 3rd grade classroom in which they had just finished up planning and I was greeted by two of our kindergarten teachers. Yep, that's right. Kindergarten teachers in a 3rd grade classroom. Of course, my initial reaction was "What are y'all doing way down here?" (I didn't say it was the right was my initial reaction) Their response, "We were planning with 3rd grade."  You know that sound Homer Simpson makes when he realizes he did something wrong..."Doh"

Finishing Up a Collaborative Planning w/ KN & 3rd Grade Teachers
Our kindergarten team initiated a planning session with 3rd grade to ensure the language, vocabulary and terms they were using with their students throughout the day were consistent with what was happening as students transitioned into 3rd grade. They were able to talk about language used when working with non-fiction texts and discussed an upcoming geometry unit in math. Genius! 

It would have been easy to stay in their own grade levels and keep working in their teams, not sure of what other teams are doing. We have done this before...(not enough)...but we have spent time meeting with teams, discussing vertical alignment and finding consistency with our instruction. However when teachers take this self-initiated approach, it is on their terms. It is not a directive, it is not a "boss" telling them it needs to be done. It was two teams of teachers, wanting to work hard. It was two teams of teachers wanting to be a little uncomfortable and work outside their standards. It was two teams of teachers who wanted to improve. 

"Why does Rice play Texas?" Because it is hard! Teaching is hard! What are we going to do to improve. 

Thank you to both of these teams for being a shining example of working hard to improve! 

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